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Jones Day Hiring Partner Tells All (About Getting An Offer)

Vivia Chen

May 21, 2010

ShumakerWeb Here in Lower Manhattan, grayness is giving way to sunlight, bars and restaurants are flinging open their doors, and Wall Street is turning into one giant outdoor cafe--all signs that the summer associates are coming.

Law students blessed with big-firm summer jobs still are worried about the effects of the unstable economy on their long-term career prospects. Foremost on their minds: How to secure a full-time job offer from the summer gig?

We decided we'd check in with some hiring partners for their lists of summer associate do's and don'ts (we asked about their hiring plans, too). First up: Jones Day hiring partner Gregory Shumaker, who heads up law school and lateral recruiting for the firm globally. 

Is the economy affecting your hiring plans for the summer and fall?
The economy has affected hiring for every firm. We have 125 summer associates coming; last year it was 200. This fall, there will be 126 incoming lawyers; last year it was 144. But we had no deferrals and no associate layoffs.

 Jones Day has 32 offices worldwide. What's the one thing you look for from all candidates?
We have an integrated partnership around the world, and we're teamwork oriented. We want someone who has a broader sense of community.

 Teamwork and community are buzzwords mentioned by every firm. What do they means at Jones Day? 
Our compensation system is totally confidential; partners don't know what other partners make. We do that so that there's no fighting over clients and origination credits. We have healthy egos, but if people are more focused on what they bring in, this might not be the firm for them.

 How do you determine which law students will fit in with your culture when they probably don't know what they want?
I'll ask them if they feel it's important to know their classmates' grades. If they're too focused on who got a B+ or B-, they might not be comfortable with our system.

 Which firms do you typically compete against for candidates?
Latham, Sidley, Kirkland & Ellis, Skadden, and Gibson Dunn. They are all global like we are.

 What turns you off about a candidate during an interview?
If I sense entitlement; if they think they're better than their colleagues or if they are too focused on themselves.

 What's the profile of a summer associate who doesn't get an offer?
Someone who doesn't get along with others.

Any memorable moments in which a candidate sabotaged their chance at an offer?
Once we had a summer associate who split the summer between us and the government. Afterward, we asked her if she missed us, and she said, "Well, I miss the paycheck."

Not too tactful. What if you're nice but mess up an assignment?
Some people are not as strong in writing, but you can usually work with them. You have to fail on several levels [not to get an offer]. We take a holistic view.

That's rather charitable. Any golden rules for summer associates?
Indiscretion happens with alcohol, but people understand that. You usually have to knock a partner out cold for it to be a career-ending event.


If you have topics you'd like to discuss, or information to share for The Careerist, e-mail chief blogger Vivia Chen at VChen@alm.com.

Photo by Diego Radzinschi; courtesy of Jones Day

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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